Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has reportedly asked the Trump administration to delay a Pentagon cloud computer contract worth $10 billion because it might unfairly favor Amazon.
Here’s what we know
In a letter released by his office, Rubio wrote to national security adviser John Bolton on Thursday expressing concern that the process to award the contract had a “lack of competition.” He said that awarding the contract could “result in wasted taxpayer dollars and fail to provide our warfighters with the best technology solutions.”
The contract involves the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, a new cloud computer program. Oracle, one of the initial companies competing for the contract, has sued the Department of Defense, alleging that the process was unfair. Other Republicans, including Reps. Steve Womack (Ark.) and Tom Cole (Okla.), have also said that they believe Amazon could have been unfairly given the contract.
Rubio said in his letter to Bolton:
JEDI has the potential to be a $10 billion, 10-year contract. This type of fiscal and time commitment should demand a procurement steeped in competition and conducted without bias toward any one vendor. However, DoD has used arbitrary criteria and standards for bidders. Even though 200 companies were initially interested, DoD instituted such a restrictive criteria that only four companies bid on JEDI. DoD then further used the arbitrary criteria to eliminate two of the bidders, IBM and Oracle, leaving only Amazon and Microsoft. And in the end, DoD plans to award this massive contract to a single vendor, even though multiple vendors would ensure continuing price competition and access to the latest innovations.
I respectfully request that you direct the delay of an award until all efforts are concluded in addition to evaluating all bids in a fair and open process in order to provide the competition necessary to obtain the best cost and best technology for its cloud computing needs.
Rubio’s office declined to offer further comment on this matter.